There are a lot of business models out there, but the most important thing is that the model you choose and the way you approach it, aligns with YOUR values. This week we're talking about the membership business model, and how you can create and grow a membership driven by your values.
I chatted with membership expert Lisa Princic of Scaling Deep and she shared:
I'll let Lisa take it from here!
My business is called Scaling Deep, and I started it because I was intrigued by the idea of scaling and having more freedom in my business. I wanted to focus on working in my zone of genius. I didn't want to "just scale" with the traditional ways of gathering as many leads as I could. I wanted to grow based on my values.
In 2015 I took a business strategy training and it gave me amazing tools to help me help others dial in their business models, their positioning based on their values, and figure out how to market based on that.
Now, I work with membership-based businesses in the form of VIP days and in my Profitable Membership Club.
I made the decision to focus on that niche after feeling the need to grow, create, and train. But that's hard to do as a generalist! I noticed a gap in the market with few women speaking on memberships. All I found was a focus on high-volume and getting as many people into a membership as possible. That didn't align with my values, so I found a gap in teaching coaches and service providers how to move to this high-service model where we can give one-on-one support and feedback to our members.
It's a sustainable approach and I don't think there are enough people teaching HOW to do it right.
The biggest challenge with memberships is to get clear on who it's for and the one major outcome it creates. Many people try to appeal to a broad target audience for their membership, but this is a mistake that leads to unclear positioning, and even overwhelm for you and your members as you try to include content and features for everyone. There will be different ways to consume the value inside your membership, but it should all lead back to the same transformation. People will pick and choose how they consume your content and which parts they participate in, and that's ok! But it should all contribute to helping your ideal member get the one major outcome that your membership promises.
The best way to do this is by finding the most specific and niche transformation your people want, and then filling your membership with those who are mostly interested in the same kind of transformation.
If your membership outcome is vague and you take a high-volume approach, you might attract everybody, but nobody stays because it’s not for them. When you're trying to attract loads and loads of people, you're going to get a lot of people who try it out, but they're not necessarily going to stick around or get results. They're not going to be super satisfied, and you're going to have a hard time understanding what the true results of your membership are. When you're really clear on who it's for, you know what to do to support your members with their goals.
When you figure out who your membership is for, and price it sustainably for people to be there long term, you can build relationships with your members, which is a lot of fun! But people need to stick around long enough for you to get to know them in order for that to happen.
For service-based business owners adding a membership into their business model, it can be tricky to shift your sales strategies for growing a scalable offer. If you've been getting clients primarily through referrals and word of mouth, a membership will require a more sophisticated sales system.
It's important to develop a sales system and understand the different pieces involved in a sales funnel in order to sell a membership. You may not love it, but to sell a membership, you'll need to get into the launch and marketing spaces to make it work. But there are ways to do it that are aligned with your values and can even be fun!
For example, I just ran a Bootcamp where my primary focus was engagement with my current audience rather than attracting new people to me. I made this decision because I knew based on my funnel that it would be more valuable to provide an engaging experience for people already familiar with me rather than focusing on bringing in new leads. Knowing where that was in my funnel helped me tailor the experience to everyone who attended. It wasn’t about getting as many people as I can into the Bootcamp, my goal was to get the right people into it who would excited to buy from me because they gained so much value already.
I chose to run a summit after launching my membership and getting more specific with my niche to focus on serving membership-based business owners. At the time, I had very few people in my audience who were interested in memberships, and I wanted to grow my list with the right audience for my new direction quickly.
I didn't want to spend hours and hours creating content and wait months to grow my list with the right people. I also wanted to gather people together and have the opportunity to learn from other experts too! A summit was the perfect solution. It allowed me to position myself as an expert and grow my list of people who are interested in memberships.
I ran the same summit twice in one year. The first went great, but the second was a harder process. I found that the two events were too close together and I didn't give myself adequate time to prepare for the second. I now know that it's only sustainable for me to do one summit per year, so my next is planned for early 2023. This will allow me to put my all into making the summit a great experience by thinking through who needs to be there and adding more people because I’ll have more time to plan.
I didn’t use my first summit to launch my membership because I was new and didn’t have my membership set up yet. However, it did help me to grow my list with the right audience leading up to my initial launch.
With my second summit, I did launch my membership after the event, and it worked! Even though there were several issues that came up with my second summit, and the summit itself was less successful than the first, it still worked as a launch mechanism for my membership. The attendees had a great experience at the summit and were ready to join the membership at the end. It does really work!
Want to learn about growing a membership through a virtual summit? Check out Sell With A Summit: Membership Edition! It's a 4-day virtual event that will help membership creators fill their community with their ideal members - and get paid to do it with a virtual summit!
You'll see presentations and some special extras from both Lisa and Krista! Be sure to check it out and get your free ticket. We'll keep this page up-to-date with a link to the recordings in case you're here after the fact.
A membership is a long-term visionary business model. It won’t instantly bring you success - but what does in our businesses? If you're thinking about starting a membership or have launched one recently, stay committed to it because the long-term gain is what makes the difference. If you start sustainably and you stick with it, in a few years, you're going to have something absolutely dreamy that you love and that has a huge impact.
Lisa has over 13 years of experience helping impact-driven small business owners dive deep into their unique value and business models to build sustainable and profitable brands. She helps them simplify and package their offers, increase their visibility with stronger positioning and smarter marketing, and scale with membership programs that become a significant source of their revenue.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.